Worried by the prevalence of cancer in the country, members of the Musculoskeletal Oncology Support Foundation (MONSUF), took to the street on Monday to enlighten people on the importance of reporting the growth of any tumour in their bodies to their doctors early, in order to prevent such from metamorphosing into cancer.
Members of the Foundation commenced their walk against cancer from Yaba to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, displaying various posters with inscriptions such as : “I am and I Will”; “Sarcoma is not a death sentence! Early treatment makes cure possible”; “Lump or bump in a limb? Visit an orthopaedic surgeon early”; Pain in the limbs? Please come around for a check up”, etc.
Speaking with the Chairman, MONSUF, Prof. Suleiman Olaiwola Giwa on the essence of the walk, he explained that they were out in commemoration of the World Cancer Day, established by Union For International Cancer Control (UICC) to enlighten people on early presentation of any growth in their bodies, emphasising the importance of seeing their doctors in time.
As a bone surgeon, he hinted on the rate of bone cancer prevalence in Nigeria, saying bone cancer make up one percent of all other cancers. “Although people might say it is very small, but one life is very important to us, so we want to say that one life among many”.
Also present at the campaign, a Professor of Surgery, Bowen University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Samuel Eyesan, noted other agenda of the advocacy walk, which were addressing the risk factors of cancer and listing the preventive measures to cancers. He mentioned regular exercise as the number one antidote to cancer, saying exercise has been proven to reduce cancer risk, as a person that exercises daily will hardly develop cancer.
He also stated that eating of fresh fruits and vegetables will help a great deal in reducing the risk of cancer, as they are loaded with antioxidants to combat free radicals, which bring about the development of cancer.
On the factors that predispose people to cancer, he said smoking and the consumption of alcohol top the list of these predisposing factors to cancer.” Tobacco smoking and alcoholic consumption increase cancer risk, as studies have established that smokers die 15 years earlier than they are supposed to die, and 80 % of lungs cancer patients are found to be smokers. It is also established that smoking can cause cancer of anywhere mouth, stomach, lungs, gut, etc, while alcoholic drinks expose people to cancer of the liver”.
However, the professor of surgery said that cervical cancer is preventable, because scientists have been able to develop a vaccine against the virus that causes it called Human Papiloma Virus (HPV), and it is given to young ladies now a days. “Anyone who has received it is saved from developing cervical cancer to about 90 %”.
Prof. Eyesan also assured prostate cancer patients that there is hope of surviving it, if they report early. Speaking from patients’ observation over the years, he said there are survivors who have lived forty years after their diagnosis because of their early presentation. “For instance, in my church, I have someone who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer early, and the surgery was done in the US, and she is still alive fifteen years after”.
The Secretary to the Foundation, Pharm. Modupe Alli, also urged patients not to be shy to narrate their experience to their doctors, saying a problem shared, is half solved.